David Salle in the studio at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York, 1993
Gift of Kenneth Tyler 2002
Photographer: James McHUGH

David Salle was born in Oklahoma in 1952 and grew up in Kansas. He developed an interest in art at an early age and attended life-drawing and other art classes outside normal school hours from the age of eight. After completing school he studied at the California Institute of the Arts where he received his BFA in 1973 and his MFA in 1975. Having completed his formal training, Salle relocated to New York where he developed a broad range of working methods that included relief printing on canvas.

In 1994 he worked at Tyler Graphics on the multimedia print series High and low. Featuring magazine excerpts in a collage effect, these prints recall Salle’s early days in New York during which he worked in the art department of a pornography magazine. In 1995 Salle directed the film Search and destroy, produced by Martin Scorsese.The High and low prints reflect this interest in cinema, invoking ideas of montage and splicing.
Emilie Owens


Born in Norman, Oklahoma, United States of America

Attends California Institute of the Arts, Valencia receiving Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1973 and Masters of Fine Arts in 1975

Moves to New York City, New York; begins to teach drawing at Ocean County Community College, Tom’s River, New Jersey

First European solo exhibition at Fondatión Corps de Garde, Groningen, The Netherlands

Appointed Assistant Professor, Hartford Art School, West Hartford, Connecticut

Receives Creative Artist Public Service grant, New York State Council on the Arts

Becomes jointly affiliated with Mary Boone Gallery and Leo Castelli Gallery (both New York City); teaches drawing and painting at the School of Visual Arts, New York City

Included in Dokumenta 7, Kassel, West Germany; Eight artists: the anxious edge, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Body language: figurative aspects of recent art, organised by Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Image scavengers: painting, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Included in Biennial exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

Included in exhibition, An international survey of contemporary painting and sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York City; included in travelling exhibition, The heroic figure, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (travels)

Designs sets and costumes for play, Birth of a poet, by Kathy Acker, Ro Theater, Rotterdam; included in Biennale de Paris, Grande Halle du Parc de la Villette, Paris, France; included in Biennial exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; designs sets and costumes for American Ballet Theater’s The Mollino room, at Kennedy Center, Washington, DC; travelling exhibition, David Salle, originating at Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; included in Biennale of Sydney, Australia

Completes set design for The tarnished Angels, performed by Le Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris, in Italy

Travelling exhibition, David Salle: pinturas y acuarelas 1980–1988, originating at Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Spain

Completes scenery and costume design with Jeff Koons for Contempt, The Armitage Ballet, New York City

Included in travelling exhibition, High and low: modern art and popular culture, organised by Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Included in Biennial exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; travelling exhibition, Devil on the stairs: looking back on the eighties, at Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

Included in exhibition, Allegories of modernism, contemporary drawing, at Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Included in Venice biennale, Italy;included in exhibition, The portrait now, at National Portrait Gallery, London, England

Completes High and low series, mixed media prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York.; exhibition, David Salle and April Gornik, Guild Hall Museum, Easthampton, New York

Director of feature film, Search and destroy, a satire produced by Martin Scorsese, starring Dennis Hopper and Jason Ferraro

Receives commission for Crystal river, Osaka, Japan

Receives commission for Renzo Piano’s DaimlerChrysler Corporation building, Berlin, Germany

Travelling exhibition, Retrospective,organised by Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Solo exhibition, Retrospective,Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico

Solo exhibition, David Salle: split worlds, Stella Art Gallery, Moscow, Russia David Salle currently lives and works in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York

Solo exhibition, The vortex paintings, at Mary Boone Gallery, New York; included in exhibitions: Contemporary voices: works from the UBS art collection, at Museum of Modern Art, New York; Picturing America: selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art, at Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki, Japan

Solo exhibition, David Salle: new paintings, at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria

Included in exhibitions: The pictures generation, at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Collection: MOCA's first thirty years, at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; solo exhibition, David Salle: distance from nowhere, at Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany

Included in cross-country travelling exhibition, America: now and here

Included in exhibition, Under the big black sun: California art 1974-81, at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Solo exhibition inspired by production of Thomas Ad├Ęs's The Tempest, Ariel and other spirits, at Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met, Metropolitan Opera House, New York; included in travelling exhibition, This will have been: art, love & politics in the 1980s, originating at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; included in exhibition, Contemporary painting, 1960 to the present: selections from the SFMOMA collection, at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; featured in TateShots, a series of short videos focusing on modern and contemporary art, produced by Tate

Solo exhibition, David Salle: ghost paintings, at Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago; included in exhibition, David Salle / Francis Picabia, at Galerie Thaddaues Ropac, Paris

David Salle currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

Barbara Delano © Tyler Graphics Ltd., revised Kate Buckingham, 2006; revised Julia Greenstreet, 2013

This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017